Saturday, January 28, 2017

Classroom News

We have had lots of excitement these past two weeks!  Here are a few highlights:


During Reading Workshop, we identified describing words for characters, including defining characteristics of their outward appearance, as well as their personality traits. We learned that authors sometimes use speech bubbles and thought bubbles to help us get to know a character's personality better.  Next, we practiced using a story map to help us remember important details in a story, and celebrated the end of our fiction unit by retelling and acting out some of our favorite stories! We will begin our nonfiction unit next week!

I wish this picture hadn't turned out so blurry- this is the cutest bunch of trolls (from The Three Billy Goats Gruff) that I've ever seen!

Word Work

Recently we have introduced two new sight words- is and play.  Thank you for taking the time to review those sight word cards and sight word books that we keep in the blue book bags.  All of your hard work does pay off!  We have also spent time reviewing the rest of the sight words we have introduced this year, beginning sounds, ending sounds, and vowel sounds, as well as word families.

We also completed a special snowman project for the hallway, where we built snowmen with the letters of our names.  We identified and color coded the vowels and consonants.  It was fun to compare our snowmen and see how different names made the snowmen shorter or taller!


We have continued to practice our writing workshop routines with weekly writing about something that happened over the weekend.  We also used what we learned during Reading Workshop to practice incorporating speech bubbles in our writing.  Next week, we will begin our narrative writing unit, where we will learn to focus on a small moment and stretching it out to add details.  We have also been working hard on our capital letters and numbers in our Handwriting Without Tears journals.

Social Studies

To honor Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we created a special project for the hallway with the morning classes.  We read The Crayon Box that Talked, a book about a box of crayons that learned how to appreciate one another's differences after seeing that when they all come together, they make a more beautiful picture!  Next, we each drew a self portrait on a crayon, and colored the crayon our favorite color.  We noticed that when we put all of the crayons together, our crayon box looked complete!


We have been working hard on becoming more comfortable using a number line to move forward and backwards to solve number stories.  In addition to counting practice, these addition and subtraction games have added another layer to our thinking!

We also learned how to play the game Top-It, which is the same as the card game, "War".  You can play the game using number cards (0-20, or beyond if you are looking for a challenge!), a regular deck of cards with the face cards removed, or online by clicking on the Top-It picture below.  Please let me know if you misplaced your child's login card and I can send you their login information!

Students of the Week

Last week, we loved learning more about Alessandro!  He shared with us his Lord of the Rings action figure with special features like a removable sword and moving hands.  Next, he showed us a real coconut he brought home from Hawaii.  He also shared his elf (named Candy Cane), Pikachu to represent his love of Pokemon, and Mungus Chima, which he enjoys playing with his dad.

We enjoyed having Alessandro's family join us for a special reading of Dragons Love Tacos.  It just so happened that his guest readers came on dress like your favorite book or movie character spirit day.  Alessandro was in the spirit in his knight outfit, and with a dragon shirt on underneath his costume!

This week, we enjoyed learning more about our friend, Julia!  She shared with us an adorable picture of her when she was little, one of her favorite Paw Patrol toys, and she brought a nonfiction book about America to show that she loves books!  She also had a princess theme going with some special Disney perfume, lip gloss, and puzzle!

We were excited to have Julia's mom join us to read a lively favorite, Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom!  The class excitedly echoed "BOOM BOOM" on cue each time she read "Chicka Chicka".  It was great fun!

Art Appreciation
We were also lucky enough to have Kendall's mom join us this week to teach an Art Appreciation lesson on Mary Cassatt.  We studied and discussed two of her great works, The Child's Bath and
After the Bath.  Next, we had the opportunity to use oil pastels to draw our own representation of a time that we feel loved, like the children in the artwork seemed.  We especially had fun using our fingers to blend the oil pastels, a technique we are not able to try with crayons or markers!

Book Fair

This week will bring the Scholastic Book Fair to Dryden!  The Book Fair will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday during the school day, as well as Thursday during the school day and in the evening.  The Book Fair will close Thursday evening.  On Tuesday during our regular LMC time, we will visit the library to see what the Book Fair has to offer.  (There will be no LMC book checkout this week- hold onto your library books until next week!) Dryden will also be hosting a Family Reading Night on Thursday from 6:30-8:30.  Wear your jammies and visit different classrooms to hear some of the Dryden teachers' favorite stories.  The reading night will conclude after a story and bedtime snack in the commons, but the Book Fair will remain open until 8:30 for those final purchases! Hope to see you there!

We Love Mrs. Kelly Day!

On Wednesday, we honored our amazing Mrs. Kelly in the office as she embarks on her next great adventure at the end of this month!  She was always a friendly face in the office, and put in so much hard work behind the scenes, along with Mrs. Lane, to keep everything running smoothly at Dryden.  Our class serenaded her with our own version of "Free as a Bird", and presented her with a large bird we colored for her to fit the school wide animal theme to bid her farewell.  We followed up with a group hug!  We will miss her dearly!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Classroom News

Happy 2017!  I missed all of my kindergarten friends over break.  I hope you all enjoyed your time together!  Here is what we have been up to recently:


During Reader's Workshop time, we have been introducing and practicing comprehension strategies as we continue our focus on fictional stories.  So far, we made predictions about what may happen next in a story, and asked questions as we read to better understand the story.  We also made connections as we read, and practiced sharing our connections with one another by using these sentence starters in our conversations:

As we read the stories, we also noticed repeated words or phrases, and used text signals that the author gives us to help us read with expression.

When we returned from Winter Break, we began meeting in small Guided Reading groups!  Students meet with me to do word work activities, read a book, and discuss what we've read.  Afterwards, we add the book to their blue book bag.  It is great practice to read those books as you practice the Jolly Phonics sound rings and sight word cards!  Just keep them in the blue book bag so your child has it to return to me the next time I call their reading group, and they will bring the new book home.

While I am meeting with these groups, the rest of the students are working on a variety of literacy and math activities independently.  They are catching on quickly to these new routines, and are really enjoying themselves!  I cannot wait to watch them continue to grow as readers.


During Writer's Workshop, we recently started writing not one, but two sentences to match our drawings.  This added challenge has also brought about a greater focus on the structure of our writing- including using capitals and ending marks correctly, as well as using a space between sentences instead of skipping to the next line.

We have also increased the time we spend on letter formation, still using the Handwriting Without Tears materials.  Now that we have finished all of our Jolly Phonics sounds, we have some additional time to work on correct letter formation.  You may have also noticed that we are now practicing writing both our first and last names on all of our papers.


We have been working hard on our number sense with various activities in math, such as working with number stories, and ordering numbers from least to greatest.

We also experimented with a pan balance to get a visual for what the concept greater than and less than looks like! We discovered that the heavier items caused the pan balance to drop lower, and in order to balance both sides, we needed to remove items from the heavy side.

We also learned a fun game called Monster Squeeze.  A letter came home in your child's take home folder explaining how to play.  The game can also be accessed on the Everyday Math online website for practice at home.  If you need another copy of your child's login and password, please let me know! Not a moment is wasted in kindergarten, as we often practice this game now as we are packing up and bundling up in the last few minutes of the day.  I think the motivation to play the game has cut their bundling up time in half!

All About Me Week

It was Alec's "All About Me" week, and we enjoyed learning more about him!  He shared with us a picture of his family, and a ball to represent his love of sports.  He also brought a blue marker, because blue is his favorite color!  He showed us a really neat Star Wars puzzle and told us that he loves to do puzzles at home and at school.  Finally, he brought a Pokemon card and shared his Pokemon enthusiasm with several friends in the class!

Alec's mom joined us to read the book, Snowmen at Night. The students loved hearing about the secret life of snowmen, and what exactly they do at night while we are sleeping!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend, and look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!